Last month in Paris, I was delighted to moderate a panel of talented, high-performing and innovative venture capitalists who provided everyone at the Invest Europe Venture Capital Forum with some fresh perspectives on investing and fund raising in a vibrant venture capital market. Despite their diverse backgrounds, what these fantastic investors all had in common was a leading-edge approach to pushing the boundaries for their funds – and co-incidentally, they are all female.
Strength in diversity
Our panellists all came to venture from very different places. Ingrid Teigland Akay, Managing Partner at Hadean Ventures, is a former medical doctor; Anne-Sophie Carrese, Partner at Elaia Partners, is a scientist and aircraft engineer; Shirin Dehghan, Partner at Frog Capital, is an electronic engineer who built and exited from a successful telecoms business; and Clara Bullrich, Co-Founder at Venture City, is a globally renowned private banker, leading the way for family offices to invest in venture capital.
They all use the expertise they have gained across diverse careers and backgrounds to fuel their insight, imagination and energy to making successful investments.
Try before you buy
Some of our panel really saw the value in educating investors, bringing a different approach to securing funding. Anne-Sophie is tantalising corporate investors with a window on the world to the deep-tech generated in leading academic and scientific institutions. By investing seed-capital she can support a large number of technologies to see which will emerge as winners. Her corporate investors can follow their development, identifying the technologies that can work for them and bringing them into the corporate fold to nurture and grow.
Clara is Co-Founder of Venture City, which gives a completely different type of investor, the family office, the chance to increase their venture knowledge, meeting entrepreneurs at first hand before they invest.
Both Clara and Anne-Sophie are giving their investors the chance to try before they buy.
Location, allocation, acceleration
Does location matter? Our panellists all agreed that real innovation could still be found outside the more obvious venture communities. Whether it is Ingrid in Oslo, Shirin in Manchester, Anne-Sophie in Paris or Clara in Bogota – all our panel are allocating true venture funding to less obvious locations, giving entrepreneurs the confidence that they can successfully accelerate the growth of their venture from anywhere in the world.
The value of values
Our diverse panellists invested at different stages, in different sectors, across different geographies and with different sources of funding - but they all agreed on one thing: people matter more than technology, geography or money. They were unanimous. In their eyes, the most important identifier of success was the shared values of the teams they had built around them, the values espoused by the investors they worked with and the values that the entrepreneurs they invested in live every day. Maybe our panel wasn’t that diverse after all.